The theatre of affect

Middleton, Deborah Kathleen

Literature; Mass media; Performing arts; Psychology
March 1993

Thesis or dissertation

© 1993 Deborah Kathleen Middleton. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.

There is an extensive body of work in the fields of philosophy, psychology, and sociology which identifies a specific world view based on the following criticism of modern society: that people live monocerebral existences divided from their physical, emotional, and intuitive abilities. In this state, the capacity for affect -emotional response - is believed to be atrophied, and experience nullified. Such a condition - which may be loosely termed 'mind/body split' - results in a diminished ability to relate to other people, a sense of alienation from the world, and a pathological loss of human capacities. Many psychologists believe that this state prefigures neuroses, destructiveness, and schizophrenia. This thesis is concerned with the concept of 'mind/body split' and its relation to affective communication in the theatre. The subjects of my enquiry are theatre practitioners or companies whose work has directly addressed these issues: Antonin Artaud, Jerzy Grotowski, The Living Theatre, The Performance Group, The Open Theatre, Peter Brook, and Eugenio Barba. My aim has been to re-examine the work of these seven in order to produce evidence of their concern for affect, heightened experience, and the healing of mind-body schism. I propose that an understanding of these concerns provides a major critical key to the appraisal of the practitioners in question.

Department of Drama, The University of Hull
Peacock, D. Keith
Sponsor (Organisation)
Department of Education for Northern Ireland
Qualification level
Qualification name
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